Live an Extraordinary Life

I was aware of India Hick's book, Island Style, which was published earlier this year, but I hadn't picked it up.  There are some design books that I buy because they enable me to clean out a pile of tear sheets (though, honestly, I rarely do the cleaning out.) Some I get because they offer me a new perspective from the designer.  Magazine features are, after all, short. Books often give designers a little more room to talk.

I wanted these familiar images of Hick's home on Harbour Island in the Bahamas,which she shares with her partner and five children. I wanted them as a reminder of how one can hold on to one's past, both burnished and blemished, and fold it in with the ever-evolving present.  Her home reminds me that the best of old can be mashed up with not only the new, but with organic pieces that hold energy of memory and experience.

Once I had the book, however, I found myself delighted by the narrative.  It's refreshing that Ms. Hicks has written the copy herself and that she has such an engaging voice.  "In the beginning, everyone wanted a pure design book," Hicks told me.  "But I didn't want to write about the color of the walls.  I wanted to write the emotional journey of living with design."

Hicks is sentimental.  Many pictures include descriptions of where or how something has come to her. Nearly everything has a story.  Along those lines, she has saved a collection of envelopes from over the years.  I was struck by the variety of ways that people addressed her.  Miss, Ms. Mrs. (though Ms. Hicks has not married her partner, David Flintwood, of over twenty years.) It is as if some folks can't quite figure out how she fits in the world as she has followed an untraditional path.

She has done the figuring out for herself. The book includes stories of travel and travail. "I've led an unexpected life," she says.  "Sometimes my mother's history and my father's success in his life of design made it difficult to find my own way.  Travel was the best education.  It gave me a different understanding of the world and helped me find who I was as a designer.  Coming to the Bahamas enabled me to find my own voice and my partner, which eventually led me to the courage to say, 'I am a designer.'"

Hicks has designed homes and bedding and fine jewelry in the past. Now she is in the midst of launching a new business.   "I had stretched as a person.  I used to think I'd grown quite a bit, but I didn't want to stop.  I wanted to keep growing," she says. To this end, she has launched a product line currently consisting of jewelry, bags, beauty products and accessories. Rather than focusing on retail locations, she is developing local partners, or "ambassadors," to rep the products.

"It's no longer just about me and my team.  There are currently about five hundred women - an amazing community - who are with us starting businesses of their own.  Many smart and accomplished women take on the roles of wife and mother and lose who they are.  We are able to work together to take that back without the expense of their other roles."

If you follow Hicks on Instagram, you'll see that she is on a tour of the States that looks fun and energetic, but also grueling.  "I feel like I haven't slept for a year," she says.  "But I'm fueled up by it."

You can find more about the book, the new line and Ms. Hicks's life here.

The top three images - excluding the fuzzy one, which is mine - were photographed by the ever charming Miguel Flores Vianna. The long table photographed by Vince Klassen and the portrait is Brittan Goetz. All are courtesy of Rizzoli.  The final image I swiped, with good intent, from the site.